Negotiators for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) are expected to discuss the smaller party’s desire to lead a pro-democracy alliance into the May 2015 general and regional elections.
“The APNU has empowered its negotiating team to explore all the possibilities that could lead to a pre-election coalition and it would be premature for me to respond to that question because all the matters that seem to be ventilated in the media presumably will be laid before the negotiating team and only then would a determination be made,” said APNU’s Chairman, David Granger.
The AFC and APNU have already signed a non-disclosure agreement for the negotiations and the AFC has since presented its proposal for a pro-democracy alliance to the larger opposition grouping.
AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan reiterated at a news conference on Thursday his party’s desire to lead the pro-democracy alliance and added that his party’s supporters would have nothing to fear. “I have publicly stated that it must be led by the Alliance For Change so if it’s gonna be led by the Alliance For Change that which those persons that you are talking about are insinuating, they wouldn’t have any cause for concern, it’s going to be led by the Alliance For Change,” he said.
Ramjattan’s position has not shifted since he first departed publicly from the AFC’s long-held stance that it would not team up with APNU whose major constituent is the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR). The mainly Afro-Guyanese backed PNC’s rule from 1964 to 1992, especially the Forbes Burnham period, still does not resonate well with pockets of the East Indian support-base of the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) a number of whom has become disgruntled and has shifted to the AFC.
Pressed on whether it was possible that APNU would give up the presidential candidacy to the AFC in pro-democracy alliance, Granger said “it is possible that whatever is raised during the negotiations will be reported to the two sides and a determination will be made.”
While AFC desires a “pro-democracy alliance” of APNU, civil society entities, religious organisations, trade unions and disaffected PPPC suppporters, Granger has been referring to a “pre-election coalition.”
On the role of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), which had held the prime ministerial spot at the November 2011 general and regional elections, Granger said it would be guided by its experience and the new information that has been provided by the AFC. WPA’s Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine was Granger’s number two.
Granger emphasized that the two political organisations have not yet discussed the allocation of posts but are focusing on establishing a government of national unity. “I will like to emphasise that we have not yet reached to the level of discussing appointments. We are looking mainly at bringing an end to the damaging 22-year PPP regime.,” he said.
Granger says that he expects negotiations to be concluded within four weeks.
Teams from both sides have been selected and will engage I’m negotiations on the specifics of a pre-election pro-democracy alliance, as proposed by the AFC two months ago. The AFC’s team will be headed by is General Secretary, David Patterson, while Granger yesterday revealed that APNU financial point man Carl Greenidge will lead the coalition’s team and be its chief negotiator. Other teams members, Granger said, are Basil Williams, representing the PNCR, Sydney Allicock representing the Guyana Action Party (GAP), Rupert Roopnaraine of the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA), Keith Scott for the National Front Alliance (NFA). Also on the team is George Norton, who will be representing APNU’s shadow Cabinet.